MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Successful late model drivers Claire and Paige Decker, along with cousin Natalie Decker, all hope to take the green flag in Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
Claire, 21, and Paige, 23, are sisters from Eagle River, Wis., and should they both make the field, they would be only the second pair of sisters ever to compete in the same Truck Series race, joining twins Amber and Angela Cope.
Claire, a former NASCAR Drive for Diversity competitor, is driving the No. 10 Chevrolet owned by Jennifer Jo Cobb. Paige is behind the wheel of Mike Harmon’s No. 74 RAM, having finished 30th in Harmon’s truck in her series debut at Martinsville last fall.
Cousin Natalie, 18, also a D4D alumna, is driving the No. 14 Chevrolet owned by Bob Newberry.
All told, 18 female drivers have competed in Truck Series races, led by Cobb, who has 117 starts. Cobb also boasts the best finish by a female in series history—sixth at Daytona in 2011. The highest finish by a female at Martinsville belongs to Deborah Renshaw, 15th in 2004.
Only once in NASCAR national series history have more than three women competed in the same race. That happened in the Truck Series at Martinsville in 2010, when the Cope twins, Cobb and Johanna Long all took the green flag.
On nine other occasions, three women have raced in the same NASCAR national series event: twice in Sprint Cup, four times in the XFINITY Series and four times in the Truck Series.
Brian Vickers was fastest in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice with a lap at 97.182 mph. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch were 17th and 18th respectively. “Practice doesn’t mean anything,” Vickers cautioned. “We’ve got to do it all over again in qualifying.” Time trials were scheduled for 4:15 p.m. on Friday. …
With less than a minute left in Friday’s opening 80-minute NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session, Trevor Bayne wheel-hopped into Turn 1 and backed his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford into the outside wall near the apex of Turns 1 and 2.
“We were giving up two to three tenths (of a second) into both corners, and I tried to just push the braking zone a little bit more, and it started wheel-hopping really bad,” Bayne said. “There was nothing I could do about it. Once it started bouncing, I tried to save it, and once it got backwards, I stood in the gas and it just backed in.”
With the No. 6 severely damaged, Bayne’s team rolled out a backup car.